How many companies would you say were inspired by a nine year old girl? I bet you couldn’t name one if your life depended on it. Well today I have the pleasure of sharing one success story. Mother-daughter boutique better known as, Fashion Camp, built its entire essence around the vision of nine year old Micayla.
Her creativity and spunk took over the McMahon household and ultimately dragged her mother Marlena (owner and inspiration director) into the fashion world. The Fashion Camp family revealed what sets them apart from the rest and it was truly awe-inspiring. This isn’t your ordinary fashion boutique or average camp, but don’t take my word for it. Read for yourself!
Marlena- Inspiration Director
Micayla- Spunky Fashionista
Corinne- Head Camp Counselor
Fashion Hall: What inspired you to create Fashion Camp?
Marlena: Micayla was always one of those super, creative kids. You would take her to a store whether it was Children’s Place or Nordstrom’s. When we got home she would come home and cut things, staple them, patch things together, and she always had this exciting flair. We would visit this place in Nantucket that was an open design studio and we would have this amazing time together creating. What I noticed was, whatever she created she would wear over and over again and she would feel so great.
It built her confidence. It was a great time between her and I, avoiding all of the outside sources of technology, phones, and everything else. It was empowering for her because she would create something and people would ask her “Where did you get that?” and she would say “I made it”. Just that attention alone was exciting. So we decided to take what was in Nantucket and bring it here. The open design concept and then expand on it. Micayla decided she wanted to have a store so I took her to Jacob Javitz and she did all the buying.
Micayla: It was a big place and they had all these booths. We would go to every booth and I would pick out the clothes I want. Then we came to the store and hang them up and people would buy them.
Fashion Hall: Did you guys always have a passion for fashion?
Marlena: Micayla has. I have no fashion background but I always loved shopping and loved fashion. I figured if she’s doing it let me open a women’s boutique. The focus here is a lot of really great tops. I’m always in jeans because I have three kids so I’m running from pickup to an activity. So I like to be able to change my accessories and tops yet still look good.
Fashion Hall: Who is your intended audience?
Marlena: I’d say people between the ages 4 to 104. Everyone finds an outlet whether its wine tasting or a spin class. In my opinion, fashion is, sewing, creating is very therapeutic. But it’s definitely geared towards women and tween girls. I have a son who spends a lot of time here so we make sports bags . We’re definitely geared for a creative person and I would never want to put an age limit on that.
Fashion Hall: I saw you guys also offer party themes for Fashion Campers. Who’s responsible for that?
Marlena: It’s both of us. Micayla comes up with ideas that she’d like to do and then I expand on it. We just opened our Bling Bar because all the kids love adding sparkles to their clothing.
Fashion Hall: What does Fashion Camp offer that other boutiques don’t?
Marlena: Well in Micayla’s corner its more a boutique feel to buy clothes because not everyone wants to create. But some people do. As you can see there isn’t any place like it in Norwood and we have something that the community can enjoy. Not only do we offer after school classes for kids here but we also offer to adults. We do girls night out. We’ve had events where a bunch of women brought in sushi and watched Game of Thrones. They also created a sweatshirt which is something different.
This is a place for kids to be positive and happy. We let the kids dictate what they like and let them seize the moment. It’s all about controlled chaos. We love the voices, love the music, love the excitement. We love the kids walking on the runway and strutting their stuff!
Fashion Hall: What does Fashion Camp mean to you?
Marlena: It’s a place where kids can create and build confidence. There’s really nothing better than a kid to creating something he or she can be proud of. My number one job and biggest pleasure in life are my children and my husband. I have one chance to get those things right. It was a conscious choice to open a business three minutes from my house so I can balance everything.
Corrine: People always come in and ask if they can do this or that and the answer is always yes. We will do everything we can to please our campers. I have fun at my job. I can bring my kids here. It’s a safe place.
Fashion Hall: What would you say is a typical day at Fashion Camp?
Marlena: There is no typical day at Fashion Camp! I had three people calling because they want donations and we drop everything to make it happen. The weekends are filled with birthday parties.
Fashion Hall: Do you guys ever partner with schools or organizations?
Marlena: We do enrichment classes at different schools where we teach the kids fashion. We’re trying to bring more of the after school classes to Fashion Camp. I’m the cheerleading coach too. So I have the cheerleading banquet and we’ve been making things to donate to the tricky trays. Macaroni Kids hosted a sold out event here where they launched the movie Sofia.
Fashion Hall: Have you guys ever provided costumes for a dance performance or theater performance?
Marlena: We’re actually making costumes for someone in the character business as we speak.
Fashion Hall: Micayla, can you describe your fashion style?
Micayla: No one could ever guess what I’m wearing. I don’t have one style. I’m always different. One day I’ll be wearing cereal leggings and sunflowers the next day. Well I don’t like dresses but I like to wear skirts and vests. I would get jackets and cut off the sleeves to make cool vests. I like wearing sneakers, especially my high top sneakers. I like color. My style is spunky.
Marlena: You know how moms dress their children? From the time she was born I wasn’t lucky enough to dress my kid. I have three kids. Micayla, a son, and a two year old girl. This morning my two year old picked out her outfit. I have creative kids that like to pick and come into their own. On their own.
Fashion Hall: You’ve got some independent kids! Micayla what inspires your style?
Micayla: I could just look at the wall and something will just pop into my head. I look at my clothes and get an idea. I get an idea from everything. When I see someone wearing an ugly outfit I wish I could turn it into something better.
Fashion Hall: When you’re feeling your happiest or most confident, what outfit are you wearing?
Micayla: I’m usually wearing black Converse, a skirt, and just a plain tank top.
Fashion Hall: What’s you favorite accessory or something you wouldn’t leave the house without?
Micayla: I always wear accessories with everything. A headband, scarf, earrings, and necklace.
Fashion Hall: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Micayla: I want to be famous! I’m starting my modeling career. I did my second fashion show last week. I’m a fit model and I’m doing some print.
Fashion Hall: Have you and your mom ever created your own Halloween costume?
Marlena: Micayla wanted to be a pink flamingo years ago. We found a costume in the Chasing Fireflies catalog but they were sold out.
Micayla: She made it from scratch!
Marlena: My husband thought I was crazy. I spent one hundred hours making that thing.
Fashion Hall: What are your future plans or goals for Fashion Camp?
Marlena: There’s no telling what will happen in the future. I’m driven by what the kids want to do. We’ll be having our first boy birthday party. There’s no limitations on what we can create and we are always open to partner with different organizations.
Fashion Hall: Any closing comments?
Marlena: One of the things I’m working right now is getting the designers we sell in the store to come in. Zara Torres is really popular amongst the girls and will be doing an appearance here and teach one of our classes. She’s bold and brilliant and doesn’t like to be plain. She’s definitely an inspiration to young girls. Now the girls who love her and wear her clothes will actually get a chance to meet her.
Fashion Hall: Thank you guys so much for allowing me to pick your brains. It’s really refreshing to hear a young girl so confident and independent. She is her own inspiration and she doesn’t let the media dictate her self esteem or how she perceives herself. People don’t understand how emotional clothes and finding your personal style can be and Micayla nailed it!
Marlena: That makes me so happy I could cry. It makes me feel so good and like I’m doing a good job with my own kids. Every kid can have that at Fashion Camp. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or where you’re from, we create the best experience for each one of those kids. I say that so confidently.
Fashion Hall: It was truly an honor to speak to such passionate and personable people. Marlena’s parenting style is refreshing, intriguing, and loving. I couldn’t tell you if Micayla had an iPhone or Droid because her hands were busy cutting, primping, and dancing with garments she’d be giving a new purpose. And Parent of the Year Award goes to— Marlena!
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**Fashion Camp will give 10% off your entire purchase if you mention the Fashion Camp’s exclusive interview on the Fashion Hall blog!